I view this experience as a small diversion with potential to change the long-term trajectory of my career.
Debra Kelsall

Debra Kelsall

Nationality/Passport: Canadian Year of graduation: 2022 Current Role: Director at PJT Partners in the Secondary Advisory team (Investment Banking)

Could you share a little why you decided to pursue the MBA, and in particular, the INSEAD MBA?

Some of the most impressive leaders and businesspeople I know have MBAs from prestigious business schools like INSEAD. Hoping to follow in their footsteps, I took my GMAT when I graduated from McGill university to give myself the option of pursuing an MBA in the future. After six years working in investment banking in New York and London, I started my MBA at INSEAD.

While I am not planning to change careers in the short term, I view this experience as a small diversion with potential to change the long-term trajectory of my career.

I was attracted to INSEAD by its unprecedented diversity, international emphasis, and focus on leadership development. After doing my research, I concluded that it was either an INSEAD MBA or no MBA. It turned out to be the right decision, as I can’t think of a better way to form lasting connections with such a diverse group of future leaders.  

Can you share your thoughts about the class experience, professors, the curriculum so far?

Having completed my Bachelor of Commerce and worked in finance for the past six years, the value of the courses so far for me (which have been mostly introductory in nature, i.e. intro to finance, marketing, accounting, etc.) has been the insights shared by my classmates who come from diverse professional and cultural backgrounds.

Additionally, working in my assigned study group for all classes during the first two periods has been an incredible learning and growth experience. Extracurricular activities such as case competitions have also enhanced my learning.

The INSEAD MBA is building a strong foundation in leadership, strategic thinking, problem solving, understanding business from the perspective of other cultures and industries, and importantly, allowing me to form long-term relationships with other future leaders.

Have you learned any important lessons so far from MBA experience that have been especially useful?

Through the Personal Leadership Development Programme (PLDP) and working with my study group, I have been able to reflect on my leadership style, strengths, and weaknesses. This has been invaluable, in particular since this depth of self-reflection is difficult to do while working in a fast-paced job. I have also been challenged to innovate and think strategically and operationally about how to build and lead businesses. This exposure to innovation has pushed me outside of my comfort zone and planted a seed for potentially pursuing an entrepreneurial venture one day.  

Any tips for those who are considering an INSEAD MBA?

As a one-year programme, the INSEAD MBA is intense.

It is important to reflect on what you want to get out of the programme going in so that you can prioritise accordingly, since there will always be more things to do than hours in a day.